Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Milk

  • Milk adulteration

    Catherine TangPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Global milk consumption has steadily increased over the past few decades, reaching an estimated 908 billion liters in 2021.1 Rich in protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, milk is considered an “ideal food” for its abundant nutrients required by both children and adults. However, milk is also one of the…

  • Milk in medicine

    The mammary glands are believed to have originated as glands in the skin of synapsids. These were the predecessors of mammals some 300 million years ago, and the function of their skin glands was to provide moisture for the eggs they were laying. When mammals came on to the scene, the function of the mammary…

  • Wet nursing: A historical perspective

    Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta A Russian wet nurse, c. 1913. Painted by Frederic de Haenen public domain via Wikimedia. Wet nursing, a form of breastfeeding provided by someone other than an infant’s biological mother,1 has a long and sometimes controversial history. Death in childbirth, a mother’s illness, as well as cultural habits and circumstance have…

  • Did Salvador Dali follow the prolactin discovery in his painting of the fountain of milk?

    Michael YafiHouston, Texas, United States The Fountain of Milk Spreading Itself Uselessly on Three Shoes by Salvador Dali remains one of his most enigmatic works. It shows a nude woman on a pedestal, milk flowing from her breasts, while an emaciated man is staring at her.1 As he was completing the painting, Dali may have…

  • “Blood made White”: The relationship between blood and breastmilk in early modern England

    Jennifer EvansSara ReadUnited Kingdom The early modern body was thought to be composed of and ordered by an intricate balance of fluids, the most important of which was blood. Blood was universally understood to have two origins: the heart and the liver. Together with the brain, these organs formed what Galen called “the noble organs.”…